Saturday, January 31, 2015

Phantom True, Control (Where Form is Self in Love)

Who's the work here? says the object. An object that may cease when discarded, torn up. Perhaps unread - not unread - the monkish tree in a sensible forest.

There is no point in not allowing a thing when one confesses it in word in deed. A studious look, the unshaven Saturday look. The leather coat for readings.

A poet once said, the only difference between a cynic and a romantic is their immediate proximity to a free meal. A cynic quoted that line, but in the context of public speech, he is a romantic.

A cynic, a romantic, and a realist went into a bar. The bartender asked, What will you have? All three ordered their drink of choice. Tell me who paid.

To be frank, I want and aim to enter back into things public and free-flowing and have. Why? That is not my question. What is my question?

Why ask questions?

I go through my work and my "history" (weak beer) snaps or lodges into a kind of focus. I think of the advice I would have provided students whom I have never by the grace of God been allowed to tutor, Be careful to love great authors, for you inevitably will model yourself after them.

What is a great author? There, I lose me. I lose you, I lose me. We will not fall any further than in posing that question. I ask your forgiveness that things should have gotten even to that point.

But we visit this juncture for the purpose of, quite suddenly, just as one might follow up and ask, What is a great poem, to suggest that you, the inquirer, are the point of the question. You are the very form and purpose after which we inquire, as, by extension, am I.

I call myself a concrete formalist. What this means is that I aim to capture form. I aim to capture the form of being, in particular, via process. As a young man, reading on my own in NYC, bartending at C.B.G.B.'s, I ascertained that contemporary manners would not serve to capture anything other than the will to portray oneself as sympathetic to a time and place and circumstance. I wanted to capture process - to capture the Engine. I wanted being. I understood the classical method as a personal requisite. You may say that all is politics, and I will agree with you. I will go further and say consciousness of the political is political. I seek being, its fact & the face of it.

It has never changed, really, the authors I trust. I trust their sense-making. The clarity of the here and now, including the clear song of language put to the service of a willing, thrilling soul. All that we do is fine, just fine, but I prefer my sources. Homer, Virgil, Hesiod (and so many of the Classical authors), the Bible.

I prefer Kierkegaard to the news. Why? I mean, why bother even to state such a thing? Because it is true, and for a reason. The news means everything when we are conscious and caring and capable enough to act. But how we act is governed by our language and our ideals and our forms for action-taking.

Go forward a few years into my thirties and I understood my place: to put forward and hold out for the form and process I understood, being faithful, and believing it was right to do so. I maintained this platform and approach through my forties until now.

For all these years I have felt myself at odds with achievement and success. But still I wrote as one who has no choice. I am not alone in this way of handling things. Many poets and artists and musicians work away at the thing they believe in, often without material success or note of achievement. And that is fine. We do so willingly.

But the point here is to say, I am secure, at last, simply being who I am and having written what I have written. I do not see myself as being outside. I do not see poetry world not as a category or as a collective of otherwise-thinking individuals. Instead, I see myself, simply, as one among many ones. Finally, I can allow this. That I exist.

I am already here.

I need only step forward and introduce myself and say, Here is what I do. It is kind of funny. It is a little odd. Would you like me to read?

In truth, I can see how what I do fits in and supplements what's here in Portland, Oregon, as one example. The scene here is dynamic and diverse. The changes over the past 15 years or so are incredible. And I now see myself in light of that context. It is very refreshing. Really, my writing life has been a kind of hell. I have never known where I stood in relation to anything contemporary, including, you know, people.

But to read, now, Caesar's commentaries and know I have not wavered from the message, from the form...that is really all the reward I ever, ever, ever really wanted. Not to be great or write Great Books, but to be true, to be faithful to love. This, I am willing to share, not for any kind of reward, but simply to be happy with others who, I firmly believe, will be able to share in my writerly, strange happiness.

It would be a personal refutation to ask for anything more.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Method Trivention: 2

When one is a certain age and a thing works, you may have the emotional latitude to suspend that operation and see what happens. This is fasting. You can fast or limit with respect to anything. The key is to technically suspend.

A certain age, and likely you do this to get healthy, or to see whether other, circulating ideas might apply in your case. You will do this once, then again. Not on a schedule, because that too would be a thing ripe for the fast.

No, the operation, the method, is a form you have adopted. But you put it to the side. You cleanse your life of this thing. If you can, you will live without it. You are determined to allow exactly this change. To live in the river of cleansing, the water - never pure, you understand, but more pure - rushing through you.

You have done this. You are clear. But neither do you write. This is a problem for no one other than the self that requires you write, for some variety of reasons, I can't say what they are.

There is a marvelous moment in the movie "Speed," where the the character played by Dennis Hopper says, 'If you do not allow a bomb to explode, you deny its being.' (I paraphrase from memory). This line elicits the sense, I think, that the speaker is both intelligent and insane, in the sense of living detached from consideration of the effect of his actions. It is a creepy thing to say. But, it is memorable and brilliant in the sense that it can be used to shed light, at least to someone who can use it in such a manner.

I mean to say that a poet is a kind of bomb, or exploding device. We may shower our surroundings (variety: cognizant) with pith and ellipses rather then metal shards, but explode we do.

The burst can be controlled, or not. That does not matter. What does matter is that one may find, in one's fast, no other way to light the fuse.

So, you return to your method. You light the fuse. For me, or in this case, it means leaving my house, walking three blocks to a neighborhood bar, having a couple beers, a couple cigarettes, and writing an unholy ton for a couple hours.

Life is good, and consists of many movements. Being true to oneself is constituted of multiple movements, each being true in itself.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Method Contention: One

I will be be trading getting older for nothing else anytime soon, so let's not pretend I have a choice. We will observe that the thing is so. We look to beginnings. Being a good student and failing too. Falling apart a bit. Continuing to work. Making a habit of it. Making the habit healthy.

Finding returns in what is there and calling them that. If this is what it is (one thought) then what is there for a return is just as true.

So, despite dispersion theories - or theory aimed at dispersing "logic" as a received particular - there is a kind of logic. What is logic. It is what we arrive at, having lived. to try and explain how.

The logic of clear eye, unimpeded by assumptions, not because one has argued to that point but because you have nothing to lose in recognizing that life plays out.

How marvelous.

The sound, the light, of life playing out without categorical imperatives to govern how one takes it.

Oh, to be a rock or leaf planted in the middle of Any Town square, subject to the abuse/truth of life played out as it is and lacking perfect editorial control.

How you take it. What is tough. Take it and ask for more.

Work, and work, that you say, I have nothing to fear. What would I fear?